Wednesday's In the Know: Cooking with Chicken
Chicken…that delicious bird that for so many of us is a family favorite finding its way into our weekly menu routine time and time again! Yes, chicken is low in fat, high in protein and extremely versatile, but just how versatile? Before you continue to reach for that family pack of chicken breasts, let’s talk chicken anatomy 101. Maybe, just maybe, you might find yourself venturing away from the norm and trying a new cut for dinner tonight. Why not, right?
White Meat: The leanest part of the bird. Because of this, it has the tendency to dry out pretty quickly and lack in flavor compared to that of darker meat. White meat cooks faster than dark meat and is preferred in salads and ideal for recipes with shorter cooking times.
- Chicken Breasts: Thick, juicy and the leanest part of the bird, one chicken breast is usually enough for your average adult. From soups, to tacos, pulled BBQ chicken sandwiches and even chicken parmesan, chicken breasts are a classic go-to for many of us!
- Chicken Tenders: That thin sliver of meat attached to the under belly of the chicken breast. Chicken tenders are great because they’re super thin cooking in just a few minutes! Given they are so small, a grown adult may need 3 – 4 in order to feel satisfied, but for kids, 1 – 2 is sufficient and a super delicious and easy dinner given their quick cooking time!
- Chicken Cutlets: Chicken cutlets result from taking your chicken breast, slicing it in half horizontally, wrapping each half in plastic wrap and using a cooking mallet to pound each breast (working with one at a time) until 1/4-inch thick. This allows the chicken to cook in just a few minutes per side. I love cooking with chicken cutlets because they cook so much faster helping to keep the meat nice and juicy as it cooks all the way through.
Dark Meat: Higher in fat than white meat yet still an excellent choice when it comes to a lean protein, dark meat – in my personal opinion – has more flavor! It does take longer to cook but is well worth it! Save your dark meat for longer cooking times, like braises, as the fat will keep it from drying. Dark meat is my preferred choice!
- Thighs: When serving dinner, a grown adult will usually eat 2 – 3 chicken thighs depending of course on what you are serving them with. I usually opt for skinless boneless as they will cook faster and make serving (and eating) that much easier!
- Drumsticks: A grown adult will usually eat 2 – 3 drumsticks for dinner! They take longer to cook as the meat has to cook all the way through the bone, but they are so good – and not to mention nostalgic from our childhood – that it’s just worth it sometimes!
- Wings: Small but mighty, wings lack a lot of meat and are messy given all the navigating to locate the small yield of meat. However much work may be required to enjoy them, they are a true classic come Super Bowl and parties where finger-licking is highly encouraged!
Regardless of your preference, and newfound knowledge of all the options to choose from, I hope that you go beyond your standard with the hopes of creating some “excitement” to your menu routine!
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Cheers to starting a new tradition around The Table Together!
Founder and true believer in the power of bringing people around The Table Together!